Pak minister says Afghan envoy’s daughter wasn’t abducted; urges her to join probe

PTI, Jul 20, 2021, 4:23 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Tuesday reiterated the police’s claim that the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador was not abducted even as he urged her to come forward and join the probe, in a case that has further soured relations between the two neighbours.

His statement came a day after the police in Islamabad said that they have found no evidence that Silsila Alikhil, the 26-year-old daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil, was abducted from the capital city, an incident that has triggered a major diplomatic row between the two neighbouring nations.

The minister told the media that she used four different taxis to commute to different locations in Islamabad and neighbouring Rawalpindi and the police have all details of her travels.

“Nobody sat in her car. There is no case of kidnapping. We have given FIR as per laws. And hope that she will join the probe and come forward to recognize the four taxi drivers whose vehicles she used on that day,” Rashid said.

He said that the Pakistan government was fighting her case but it would have been better if the Afghan ambassador and his daughter had not gone back.

The minister said that the complete footage and other relevant details were given to the Foreign Office which will decide whether to share it with the diplomatic community in Islamabad.

The ambassador’s daughter Alikhil was abducted, tortured, and assaulted on Friday by unknown persons in Islamabad. She was abducted while riding a rented vehicle and was held for several hours before being released.

She was found near the F-9 Park area of the capital with torture marks on her body.

The kidnapping and assault incident has soured the ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the diplomatic crisis between the two nations deepened after Kabul announced that it will withdraw its ambassador and other senior staff from Islamabad.

Pakistan also called back its ambassador to Afghanistan for ”consultations” on the alleged abduction and release of the Afghan envoy’s daughter.

Meanwhile, Rashid said that Pakistan would accept the decision of the people of Afghanistan on the formation of the government in Kabul and that Pakistan was ready to deal with any type of fallout.

“More than 90 per cent fencing on the Afghan border has been done and there is no fear as our Army and security agencies are on our side of the border to deal with any situation,” he said.

On a separate question, he said that Pakistan has completed its probe into the recent deadly bomb blast targeting Chinese workers in the country’s northwest and the government of China was fully satisfied with it.

Rashid said that Pakistan was facing “hybrid warfare” as proved by the timing of various recent incidents.

He said that the bombing incident in Lahore (in front of the house of Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Sayeed) took place before a key meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based anti-money laundering watchdog.

The Interior Minister said that the blast targeting Chinese workers occurred before a high-level meeting of Pakistan and Chinese officials and the alleged abduction of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador occurred ahead of a peace conference Pakistan was scheduled to host.

Rashid said that Pakistan would tackle all threats and continue to move forward despite security challenges.

Pakistan and Afghanistan often trade accusations, with Kabul claiming Islamabad is sending thousands of militants to fight in the war-torn country and providing safe haven for the Taliban.

Pakistan, in turn, claims that Afghanistan harbours the anti-Pakistani group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – the Pakistani Taliban – and also the secessionist Balochistan Liberation Army.

Afghanistan has seen an uptick in violence after US President Joe Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the war-torn country.

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